Horseradish ~ Good For What Ails You

© 2005 David Lepitre

Posted 04.25.04

STANSTEAD, QC | Spring has come to the garden. The horseradish is sprouting and is just days away from being pickled.

Horseradish, armoracia rusticana, is the garden plant that I look forward to every year. It's one of the first things that pops up that you can eat.

Sure the rhubarb is up and growing but you can't eat it yet. Anyone with a garden fork can find a Jerusalem artichoke to get gaseous with. But it's the white horseradish root I get misty-eyed for.

A meal of spring-dug parsnips and, if you're lucky, roast beef, just begs for fresh horseradish to accompany it. But unlike parsnips, horseradish is good when pickled and will keep for a year or it can be frozen if you wish.

It's great on a spoon, in coleslaw, salads, dips, and shrimp cocktail sauce. It loses some of its bite when cooked but it still has some flavour.

Horseradish has to be considered a spring tonic. One spoonful will clear your sinuses and wake you right up. Don't let the uninitiated take a whiff from an open jar of the new batch. It will be too much for them and they just may make a deposit in your jar.

It will unclog tear ducts and has been known to bring firm fellas to their knees.

Horseradish has another benefit -- it can be fun too. Big, strong fellas who use the store-bought product always gasp for breath, get red in the face, and cry after trying the homemade. Some guys put on quite a show and are well-worth the spoonful of horseradish it takes to make them perform.

Warning them ahead of time is part of the fun -- they never listen.

Copyright © 2005 David Lepitre/Log Cabin Chronicles/04.05